The New Times (Kigali)

17 December 2012

Rwanda: Airtel Rwanda Enters Blackberry Services Fray

Airtel Rwanda has launched its Blackberry services with an assurance to its subscribers that the service is part of its array of affordable products.

Its country director, Marcelline Paluku, said the service is part of the company's commitment to innovative products for public use, a move that has triggered the two other telecoms, MTN and Tigo, to slash their voice and data tariffs.

"Despite the high required standards, we know that Rwandans deserve the best," he said during the launch in Kigali last Friday.

He added, "Our experience in the global market allows us to rollout the best of products among which are Blackberry services."

Airtel, which set its footprint in the country early this year, has already registered over 300,000 subscribers on its network.

Already boasting the most affordable and reliable calling, short messaging and data tariffs, Airtel has launched the most affordable Blackberry services compared to MTN and Tigo.

Airtel's services will go for Rwf2,500 a week and Rwf10,000 a month compared to weekly and monthly charges of Rwf4,000 and Rwf12,000 for both Tigo and MTN, respectively.

Paluku said that the objective is to use these technologies to ease communication among Rwandans.

"Providing these services at that price doesn't mean that they are cheap but instead, they are affordable and efficient," he said.

The minister of Youth and ICT, Jean Philbert Nsengimana, is optimistic that the move by telecom companies to improve their technologies will help the country transform into a regional technology hub as it moves towards a service-based economy by 2020.

"Having all telecom firms in the country provide Blackberry services and other technology-related products like the sale of Samsung Galaxy smart phones and so on makes the country's ICT sector go a notch higher," he noted

The telecom sector plays an important role in improving people's livelihoods, both economically and socially, something that the country banks on to fight poverty, he said.

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